How Vans Shoes are Made: Vulcanized Construction

How Vans shoes are Made how are skate shoes madeHow Vans Shoes are Made
Vulcanized Construction:

Do you want to know how Vans shoes are made?   The Vans classic slip on and skate shoes are made by the vulcanized shoe making process.  The brothers, Paul Van Doren and James Van Doren, started The Van Doren Rubber Company in 1966.   Over the next 40 years they opened factories in California and later contracted factories in China and Vietnam to make the classic Vans vulcanized shoes.

vulcanize: The process of heating raw rubber to cure it. This process creates cross links inside the rubber compound bonding it together. Before the rubber is vulcanized it is stretchable, gummy and easy to tear. After being vulcanized the rubber is tough, stretchable and ready to wear.”

How Vans Shoes are Made: Vulcanized

In the Vans vulcanized shoe making process the rubber shoe outsole parts are assembled onto the lasted upper before the rubber is completely cured.  With the sole attached, the entire shoe must be heated in an vulcanizing oven.  The shoe must be heated to around 170˚C  – that is over 300˚F!  The heat required to vulcanize the rubber sole will melt nylon and polyester fabrics,  certain types of foam like EVA and PE are also damaged by the heat.  Vans shoes are made by the vulcanized process thus the uppers must be made of heat-resistant materials like suede leather and cotton canvas with metal hardware. This can limit the material choices for footwear designers.
Vulcanized shoe construction

The vulcanized shoemaking process must be made in a specific factory equipped with lots of special machines.  The shoemaking equipment required is very different from the equipment needed to make cold cement  shoes.  A shoe factory will usually specialize in one process or the other, you will rarely find both vulcanized and cold cement processes inside the same factory.

Ovens_ready_for _Vans_Shoes

The upper stitching and construction of a Vans vulcanized shoe is nearly the same as a cold cement shoe.  The inside reinforcements for the toe and heel counters are made of thin rubber sheets instead of plastic.  Again, due to the high temperature required for the vulcanized rubber, any kind of plastic or PVC logos or trim treatments must be avoided when designing a vulcanized shoe.  The lining of Vans shoes are made from light weight cotton canvas.

While the uppers being stitched, the rubber components for the vulcanized sole unit must be prepared. The rubber components for vulcanized shoes have a shelf life of only a few days. If the rubber parts are made and set aside the rubber will begin to oxidize, partially cure, and will not properly cure when the shoes are finally getting vulcanized.

how are skate shoes madeLearn more about how vulcanized shoes are made! Check out Chapters 12 in the new book

How Shoes are Made.

Learn more about making shoes:

Footwear design book Free PFD Shoe Design Book DownloadDo you want to learn how big brands make shoes?  Now you can!  How Shoes are Made will show you how modern shoes come to life! More than just a tour through a sneaker factory and more than your average shoe making book!  From drawing shoe designs to sample development and footwear manufacturing, you will learn how it is all done. Written by veteran shoemaking pros, How Shoes are Made will give you a look inside the REAL world of shoe design, development, and mass production. 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings. 26 chapters explaining shoe design, footwear pattern making, sample development, footwear materials selection, upper stitching, outsole and tooling design, shoe lasts, shoe costing, quality inspections, starting you own shoe brand, and much more!  A must read for young shoe designers, sneaker heads, or any footwear fanatic! Over 2500 copies sold! Read in 60 Countries! See Preview Video On YouTube

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Table of Contents:

The Design Process, Shoe Development, Shoe Patterns, Shoe Specifications, Outsole Tooling, Development Process, Pre-Production, Material Preparation, Stitching Operations, Rubber Pressing, EVA Forming, The Assembly Line, The Shoe Last, Footwear Costing, Importing Shoes, Shoe Logo Design, Leather for Shoes, Textiles for Shoes ,Synthetics for Shoes,  Foam for Shoes, Know Your Footbeds, Material Suppliers, Shoe Designers Tools, Jobs in the Shoe Trade ,Quality Control, Starting a Shoe Company, Life at a Shoe Factory, Shoe Making Dictionary

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